Staying Joyful as a Stay-At-Home Mom of Littles

Staying Joyful as a Stay-At-Home Mom of Littles

A Guest Post by Sophie Elise

You had the perfect hour planned. The kids would go down for their naps and quiet times and you would sit on the deck with your cup of tea and Bible for a little quiet time of your own to refuel for the rest of the day.

All that stood between you and that hour of bliss was your children’s cooperation.

You started with your toddler. Next, you gave him his milk, read him a story, patted his back much longer than you would have liked to. Finally, he fell asleep. You tiptoed stealthily out of his room, silently screaming at the squeaky door as you inched it shut behind you.

Next up is your preschooler. You read to her, cuddle her, sing her favorite song. Take her to the bathroom. Twice. Finally, she too settles.

You put the kettle on for tea and gather your journal, pen, and Bible.

Then the unthinkable happens–just as you’re pouring the tea into your oversized mug, you hear him cry. He’s awake and upset, and you know by the ferocity of that scream that your desperately needed quiet time just disappeared.

What do you do now? How do you reconnect with Jesus–the source of all joy–in the middle of a chaotic day with your littles?

Is it possible to refill our cups with joy so that we have enough to pour out on these precious ones who depend on us so dearly?

The Source of All Joy

First, let’s consider where our joy comes from and in what circumstances we are intended to feel joy. Then we will look at how we can reconnect with our source of joy when we can’t even hear ourselves think.

The greatest joy we can know comes from Jesus: Peter says, Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy (1 Peter 1:8). When we believe in Jesus–simply believe–we are filled with joy.

Joy also comes from the inworking of the Holy Spirit in us: Paul reminds us, the fruit of the Spirit is … joy (Galatians 5:22). When we accept and walk by the Holy Spirit, we produce this fruit.

Further, it comes from trusting in God: again, Paul writes, May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him (Romans 15:13).

So, if our joy comes from believing in Jesus, walking by the Holy Spirit, and trusting in God, our job, then, is to set our minds on these things daily (or as often as needed) so that we can stay joyful.

Real Struggles

The territory of a stay-at-home mom with little children is often challenging. The demands on your body, mind, and energy are heavy, and there are too few breaks throughout the day to refresh. I’m a homeschooling mama of four kids ranging in age from one to ten, and I struggle with this regularly. I get so tired out from being “on” as a mother all day–answering all the questions; cooking, cleaning, cooking, cleaning, cooking, cleaning; settling sibling disputes; trying to get exhausted toddlers with the willpower of mules to take naps.

Where, in the midst of all that, does one find the time to stay joyful?

Called to Rejoice Always

The answer, at first glance, may not be totally reassuring. James 1:2-3 tells us, Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Easy peasy, right?

Staying home with our children is a privilege, to be sure. I feel deep mom guilt every time I complain–even inwardly–about how hard it can be. I am beyond blessed to have the opportunity to witness every miraculous moment of my children’s development. But some days, it so doesn’t feel that way. My faith is seriously tested. I’m tired, I’m worn down, I’m weak. The enemy uses that opportunity to whisper lies: you’re not good enough. You can’t do this. It’s too much for you.

But my God whispers back truths: I delight in you. (Isaiah 62:4). You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you. (Philippians 4:13). Come to me. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. (Matthew 11:28).

Even as We’re Tested

Is my faith tested daily as a stay-at-home-mom? Absolutely. Is it producing perseverance, as I learn to trust in Him and walk by His Spirit? Indeed. And not only are we called to rejoice when we face trials, but in all of our afflictions, suffering, and, oh yeah, always.

Always. In all things.

In our living rooms this morning as we soothe our children after one more tantrum, and in situations far more difficult. In the words of Saint Paul, “Again, I say, rejoice!”

Putting it into Practice

That’s not to say this is easy. Focusing on our faith in Christ, our trust in God, and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in us in the midst of chaos is hard.

Here are some ideas on how you can draw your attention back to these greater truths when you’re feeling completely worn down in your role as a mom.

1. Worship

There are countless references in the Bible to ‘songs of joy’ and ‘shouts of joy.’ The Israelites danced and sang joyful songs with timbrels and lyres. David told the Levites to make joyful sounds. Psalm 28:7 says, My heart leaps for joy and with my song I praise Him. We are created to praise and worship the Lord with a joyful noise!

Worship is something you can do–together with your kids–at any time of day. When you’re feeling especially drained, play a few of your favourite worship videos through your computer or TV. Let the kids sit or dance as the screen captures their attention, while you meditate on the lyrics, or better yet, sing along in your loudest, most joyful voice. It only takes a few songs to renew a spirit.

2. Give Thanks

When we give thanks to God, we reflect on all He has done in our lives and throughout history, and we cannot help but increase our faith and trust in Him, which we know leads directly to joy.

Make a list with your children of all the things you are grateful for. Let them decorate the list with colored markers and glitter. Praise God together for His goodness and His faithfulness.

A little reminder for the morning to stay focused on God’s strength.

3. Serve Together

Let’s head back to Galatians 5 for a moment. How does Paul define walking by the Spirit? Using our freedom…to serve one another humbly in love. (vs. 13). This is what will produce the fruits of the Spirit (including joy) in us.

Bake cookies and bring them to your next door neighbour. Draw pictures together and ask your children who they would like to give them to. Offer to watch the children of another tired mama for an afternoon so she can get some rest. Make a nice dinner together and set the table fancily as a surprise for the rest of the family when they get home.

Look for ways to bring joy to others and see how God, in turn, fills you with his Spirit of joy.

Staying joyful as a stay-at-home mom of littles can be a challenge, even on the best of days, but as we recall His promises and engage in the activities that help us remember how good our God is, we too will experience His inexpressible and glorious joy.

 

Sophie Elise is a writer, entrepreneur, and homeschool mom of four, passionately pursuing God’s rest. She writes to encourage women to persevere in faith and deepen their trust in God. She’d love to connect with you through her website, My Cup Runs Over or on Facebook.

 

 

 

 

 

Related Posts:

Joy in Daily Frustrations by Meredith Curtis

How Getting Back to Basics can Help You Embrace Joy by Cathy McIntosh

The Joy-Worship Connection by Jennifer King

 

Joyful as a stay-at-home mom of littles

The Christian Mom’s Guide to Thrive in Joy This Summer

The Christian Mom’s Guide to Thrive in Joy This Summer

It’s not even “officially” upon us and already you’re looking for help to thrive in joy this summer. You can almost feel your overwhelm causing your joy to slip away. Not because of too much time with the kids. Sure, they can get on your nerves from time to time, but you truly feel you are called to be a mom and you enjoy raising your kids. It’s a privilege, not a chore. Regardless, sometimes we all need help.

Thrive in Joy This Summer

Why – every year – does the chaos of summer schedules surprise us?

As the days started to grow longer you…

  • longed for the end of school so that you’d have more free time in your schedule.  But now that summer is here, your calendar is already jam-packed.
  • eagerly awaited kids sleeping late so you could extend your quiet time with the Lord.  But the kids are awake at the crack of dawn, excited for new adventures.
  • daydreamed of warm, relaxing summer evenings.  But tempers flare by twilight because everyone feels overtired.
  • imagined you could be a fun and ever-so-patient mom.  But neglecting your solitude and quiet time has you feeling frazzled.

I’ve been there. Most every mom either feels or has felt what you’re experiencing right now.  There’s no time for a quiet thought, let alone an hour of prayer.

There is Hope

But there’s hope. With God, we know there always is.  When life seems to go haywire and the last thing you want to do is push God out of your schedule, remember – you have control. You can take the steps necessary to make sure summer is fun for the kids and rewarding for yourself, too. You can thrive in joy this summer.

7 Simple Suggestions

  1. See Time as a Valuable Commodity. In the summer, it’s easy to think you’ll have all the time in the world, but we have the same number of hours in a day when it snows as when it sizzles. You can find more free time your calendar, but you’ll have to purposely schedule that margin. As a family, determine the priorities for your time and then schedule those things first – to include free time. Seek God before saying yes. Slowing down and remembering to prayerfully consider your activities can increase peace and alleviate chaos, which can’t help but lead to joy.

 

  1. Stay in God’s Word. Your quiet, morning devotions may be on hold during this season, but you can continue to meditate on Scripture. Carry notecards that you’ll see several times during the day. Or choose verses that you can memorize together as a family while you drive from place to place.  Put the verses to a familiar melody and sing them until they’re memorized.

 

  1. Prioritize Worship Gatherings. The Bible teaches that we aren’t to stop meeting together as some are in the habit of doing, but to encourage one another (see Hebrews 10:25). Take that to heart. Think of worship time as a source of fuel for your empty tank. The rest of your week is sure to be more joy-filled if you attend church together as a family.

 

  1. Find Ways to Talk About God. We learn in Deuteronomy 6:6-7 “And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” Summer is a great time to share just who God is in your personal life. Lay on the soft grass, look for shapes in the clouds, and share your heart about Christ.

 

  1. Sneak in some Bible Study Time. You’re sure to have “bleacher butt” from time to time. Instead of reading magazines, novels, or checking Facebook while the team warms up, bring your Bible Study book. If you need to avoid conversation to do this, it’s okay to sit away from the other parents until the game starts.

 

  1. Get Enough Rest. Everyone will be better for this. Make Sundays a day of rest with no planned activities after church other than simple, family life together. Take a nap (all of you), or at the very least, head to bed a little earlier.  Remember, God didn’t create man for Sabbath, but Sabbath for man (see Mark 2:27). It’s a gift from the Father. Delight and find joy in it.

 

  1. Enjoy Every Moment Together. Consider creating a family gratitude journal or thankfulness jar. Collect the moments and memories for which you thank God, and review them as a family before the school season starts again.

 

I hope these suggestions help you not just survive, but thrive in joy this summer, savoring the moments you’ll treasure for a lifetime.

May God’s Word Strengthen You Today!

 

 

 

Thrive in Joy this Summer

 

thrive in joy this summer

 

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